The first restaurant in the country where you can smoke marijuana is now open for business in California.
The Lowell Cafe sits on a low-key corner of West Hollywood, across from a synagogue, and one block away from Ralph’s grocery store. California is among 11 states where recreational pot is legal and the staff at the Lowell Cafe is taking marijuana seriously.
“It feels really special to be a part of this. Just working here I feel like I’m a part of history,” Lowell Café host Shay Navarro said in an interview with L.A. Weekly. “With everything being legalized, it’s the perfect time to open a cannabis cafe and we have the means to do it and do it in a way that’s nice and inviting.”
Cafe-goers can explore cannabis through joints, pipes, bongs, and edibles — but cannabis-infused foods are not yet available because of California restaurant restrictions that prohibit them. The staff at the cafe includes “flower hosts” — or “budtenders” — to help guests find the perfect cannabis to pair with food of their choice and educating beginner on the potential effects of smoking.
Meet the chef
Before becoming a world-class cannabis chef at Lowell, Andrea Drummer was an anti-drug counselor who once told kids to “just say no“ to drugs. Today, she is singing a new tune after having a change of heart about cannabis.
“I just thought, I can’t do this,” Drummer said, “because I don’t know if this is wrong anymore.”
She left the social work scene to enroll at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and began using cannabis as a treatment for sciatica, a pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. From there, Drummer started building her reputation as a fierce cannabis chef, most notably preparing a cannabis-infused meal for Chelsea Handler on her show and being featured on the Netflix show “Cooking on High.“
At Lowell Café, Drummer not only is living out her dream of opening a cannabis restaurant, but she created a menu that is organically inspired and includes different forms of cannabis consumption.
The Lowell Café Experience
Guests lucky enough to make the guest list must be 21 or older and need to show proper identification. If guests have their own cannabis to smoke, they are free to bring it with them and smoke it in the cafe. This allows Lowell’s Cafe to be more than a cafe, but a place of refuge for cannabis users to smoke freely and legally. Guests can buy cannabis products with cash only but can pay for everything else with a debit or credit card and thanks to a customized air-filtration system built specifically for Lowell’s Cafe, guests can smoke indoors or out on the patio. For guests who don’t want to lounge, the restaurant features a “dispensary“ area that allows guests to pick up take-home CBD edibles and vapes.
The Lowell Café just might boost cannabis tourism and local economic growth in the Los Angeles area just as Colorado did after legalizing cannabis in 2012. Lowell Cafe takes online reservations, available up to 30 days in advance.